In Jeff Parker’s political cartoon published in the “Camera” last week, the “Back to School” banner hung above the chalkboard as an elementary student stood in from of her class. The little girl began reading her essay on the topic on the chalkboard, “What I did over the summer break.”
The teacher’s eyes bugged out and her chin dropped as the girl read her essay about the family’s misadventures in the bad economy. Despite the obvious topic, the whole scene has student and family privacy implications.
Art Linkletter showed for decades, “Kids say the darndest things.” Nevertheless, a little parental training can go a long way. Parents would be wise to talk with their children about what is appropriate to share and what isn’t. Often children offer details of their lives without a thought as to the implications of sharing them.
Parents, it is up to you to train your children about their privacy and that of the family. And if you’d like your children to share fiction, I have no problem with that. Such assignments are aimed at getting children writing, and fiction fits the bill. It also protects student and family privacy. Plus, fiction can be a lot more interesting than reality.
But there is a concern here a friend brought up. Parents, be sure to teach your children the difference between fiction and lying. Some stories aren’t obvious.
Teachers, it wouldn’t hurt either if you changed the assignment to, “What I Wish I Had Done Over Summer Break” as a welcomed alternative.